Williams’ (Restrike, 2013) Southern-gal cousins contend with a murder charge in this second in a series of Manhattan-based art-world mysteries.
After their amateur sleuthing in Restrike, cousins Coleman and Dinah Greene have gotten back to their regular interests. Coleman, the publisher of ArtSmart magazine, is excited to have acquired a home-decor magazine, thanks to funding from her recently discovered half brother. Dinah, seeking to make her Midtown art gallery profitable, is happy to have landed a contract to buy and hang art at the Manhattan office of management consultants Davidson, Douglas, Danbury & Weeks. That office turns out to be an awful place, however, with hostile, weird staff and hints that some of its existing art collection has gone missing. When DDD&W’s head of human resources, the lookalike sister of the nasty in-house art curator, is discovered dead, Dinah is accused of the crime. The cousins, along with their friends, family and co-workers, swing into action to defend Dinah and unravel DDD&W’s many mysteries. Williams, an art historian and print collector, once again brings plenty of colorful brushwork to her narrative, setting forth another fine-art puzzle while expanding upon characters and subplots introduced in her debut. This snowballing of detail is largely entertaining, although at times it causes fast-moving narrative shifts; Coleman, for example, rather abruptly dumps a love interest that had seemed so promising in the first book and embarks on two new flirtations, perhaps due to commitment issues born of her shadowy North Carolina past. Such tidbits are ultimately tantalizing, however, whetting readers’ appetites for Williams’ next installation of art-focused adventures.
An engaging continuation of Williams’ chick-lit–meets-mystery series.